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Anchovy High adjusting well to shift system removal

Published:Monday | April 4, 2016 | 4:06 AMChristopher Thomas

Six months after the opening of its new Fidel Castro Campus in Montpelier, Lambert Robinson, principal of Anchovy High School, in St James, says the school's transition from a double shift to a single shift institution is progressing smoothly.

"We are off the shift system, and the school is doing quite well, although there are a few things (in terms of supplies) that we still need," Robinson told The Gleaner recently. "Other than that, the change is good, and we are adjusting well.

The grades nine, 10 and 11 students operate from Campus One ( the old site), while the grade seven and eight cohorts are based at the Fidel Castro Campus, which was officially opened at the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

The campus, which formerly operated as a military base for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), was renamed the Fidel Castro Campus in honour of the famed Cuban revolutionary, who donated the school alongside the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sports, the Garvey Maceo High School, and the JosÈ Marti Technical High School to the Government of Jamaica in the 1970s.

 

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Vice-principal Howard Atkins, who currently oversees the Fidel Castro Campus, said that the school's newly-structured time schedule, benefits the students tremendously, although he admitted there were a few hiccups concerning the management of students' time on the road after school.

"In terms of students' regular duties, we are able to put in some more extracurricular activities, such as cadets, and we are able to get more out of our Science Club and to have more maths classes," said Atkins. "In terms of the timing, students are able to reach home earlier, since there is no dismissal at 5:00 p.m. anymore, but we still have some of the students who are rather delinquent, having more time to spend on the road before heading home. But, all in all, most parents say they appreciate the new time structure."

The removal of the shift system from Anchovy High School falls in line with former education minister Ronald Thwaites' thrust to remove the shift system from approximately 30 schools during the 2015-16 academic school year, with another 47 schools to abolish their shift systems by 2017. Anchovy High was one of four schools in the Education Ministry's Region Four whose shift system was slated to be abolished. The others were Maldon High and Grange Hill High Schools and the New Hope Primary and Junior High School.

Thwaites had said the elimination of the shift system would improve teaching and learning by increasing the teacher-pupil contact time and removing some of the vulnerabilities students face by being on the streets in the early mornings or late at nights.